Excitement spread throughout Pasadena ISD recently as members of the board of trustees, administrators and faculty honored Advanced Placement students with campus celebrations for successfully passing AP exams.
The Lewis Career and Technical High School held their first AP celebration, honoring students with a breakfast ceremony; Dobie, Pasadena Memorial, and Sam Rayburn each spread cheer with a pep rally in the gym. Additionally, Pasadena Memorial surprised AP Scholars students at their homes Saturday morning with a sign to display in their yard. South Houston held an assembly in the auditorium. Pasadena High School will host a celebration to honor AP students Tuesday, December 15.
At each celebration, students were awarded checks totaling over $174,700 for achieving qualified scores of 3 or higher on the AP exams. Students earned $100 for each AP exam they earned a qualifying score. The majority of the funding for the check donations was generously provided by the School Board with contributions from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.
Celebrations did not stop at the campus level. The district has been committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among students of all backgrounds at each high school campus. As a result, the district has significantly increased participation in the AP program over the last few years. The total number of AP exams has doubled from 2,924 in 2011 with 876 achieving qualified scores to 5,858 in 2015 with 1,721 achieving qualified scores of 3 or higher.
Pasadena ISD was recognized as one of only 14 Texas school districts, and 477 districts in the U.S. and Canada, to be named to the College Board’s Fourth Annual AP District Honor Roll in 2013 for increasing student access to AP course work while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on the exams.
Reaching these goals indicates that Pasadena ISD has successfully identified, motivated and prepared students who are likely to benefit from rigorous AP course work.
“We are proud of all the students who have participated and excelled in the AP program. This shows that our students are talented, ambitious and willing to take on challenges that reinforce their standard classroom lessons,” said Mariselle Quijano, board president.
Students who take the end-of-year AP exams must achieve a score of 3 or higher to pass and earn credit, advanced placement or both from a college or university. Research indicates that students who pass the exams are successful in college and professionally.
“Data has shown that students who take AP exams usually achieve higher GPAs and graduate from college in four years,” Karen Hickman, Pasadena ISD associate superintendent said.
Hickman explained that the cash incentives and support from campus staff have helped boost participation in the AP program.
“The schools are doing a great job of encouraging students to take challenging courses.” Hickman said. “I think students do understand that hard work does pay off. We encourage students to take advantage of the AP program. They can start as early as fifth grade as long as they are academically prepared and willing to work hard.”